Luke is going to give us a brief look at Peter’s confession of who Jesus was. We looked at this event in Matthew and Mark also. In Matthew we looked a lot at the “rock” Jesus referenced when He commended Peter for his confession. In Mark we took a very personal walk with Jesus and His disciples when He asked this question. In Luke’s telling, I was prompted to think in a new way.
Jesus has been teaching the crowds for some time now. His disciples have even gone on their first missionary journey and returned with glowing reports. The people have heard the good news repeatedly before Jesus asks these two questions: Who do the people say I am, and who do you say I am.
The first thing I noticed was the perspective of the response. In the first question Jesus is asking who do those looking in from the outside say that I am. The people Jesus was asking about didn’t have the first hand day to day contact with Jesus. They came to Him with their needs and left when those needs were met. Many of them probably came to hear Him speak when He was in town, but they didn’t walk with Him day in and day out. They didn’t get the private sessions where He explained His parables. They didn’t receive His anointing and power. They didn’t have the Holy Spirit sharing the secrets of God with them. They didn’t have ears to hear or eyes to see. So they made up possible scenarios on their own.
They were like a traveler peeking through the dining room window watching a family having dinner. The traveler might recognize the dishes being served and even remember the taste of such food from other occasions when he had enjoyed its kind. But he can’t taste the sumptuousness of the meat being served. Or savor the feel of the butter as it drips from the corn down the child’s chin. He can’t feel the warmth of the broth as it slides down the father’s throat and into his stomach. The traveler is removed from the truth, just as the “people” were from Jesus’ truth.
The second question asked for the response of the insider. The one who was privy to all the late night talks, the hours spend explaining the parables, and the personal day in and day out time with Jesus. Jesus’ disciples had a perspective that no other people would hold in all of history. They walked daily with the Son of God. They got to break bread with Him. They got to see Him when He prayed, when He ate, even when He slept. They were uniquely blessed to receive His power and authority for ministering to others. They had the working of the Holy Spirit in their midst. They didn’t have the Holy Spirit filling them yet, but were enjoying the next best thing. The Spirit Himself was opening their ears and eyes. They were the family sitting at the table enjoying all the smells, sights, sounds, and flavors of the meal. There were very few barriers. They were as close as they could get to the truth.
Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand everything in Jesus’ plan yet. They still had their own ideas of how things would happen. But they were in the very presence of God in human form. They received this precious gift of the truth straight from the hands of God.
Father God, thank You for sharing Your Son with us. Thank You for Your written word so I can share in the stories of Jesus’ life. Thank You that I have the fulfilled promise and work of Jesus so I can know the truth. Thank You for having Your Holy Spirit inspire our writers to be able to share the details of Jesus’ walk on earth so clearly. I would so love to have walked with Him on the streets. To have sat at His feet and heard the stories first hand. But I also greatly appreciate being on this side of history; removed from the doubt I would have faced then. I look forward to the time when I can sit with Him in person/spirit and have all my questions answered. When He shares His stories with me personally. I also look forward to the supper table You are preparing. The wedding feast of the Lamb. That will be a meal NO ONE will want to be watching from the outside.